How to Outsource Content Writing: Hire Native English Speakers for Less

kung fu panda flying
  • how to get quality content for less
  • how to stop kissing frogs and pick the best writer right from the start
  • how to make sure your content is 100% unique
  • if you can’t use PayPal

Do not be naive: At this very moment, while you are slaving away on some project, there are vultures circling above trying to figure out a way to survive and even thrive off your creativity…
– Robert Greene

If you are serious about online business chances are you can’t do it alone. This is especially true if you are trying to build a brand – and I mean really BRAND – something that people love, not some little affiliate website. If you have been around for any reasonable amount of time you probably already get how incredibly complex the whole thing is

internet business manifesto by schefren

This image is the courtesy of Rich Schefren from Strategic Profits 

 

And this feels like…

 

kung fu panda flying

Things become even more complicated when you are using English as a second language. Just like me… So where is the solution if any?

People usually assume I am paying tons of money to my writers. This doesn’t apply to this blog of course. It is MY diary so I speak MY English (sorry for that, I am trying my best). See it all started when I was born. Right from the beginning I was born into a mixed family and then I traveled a lot… The result is I speak 4 languages – none of them perfect, including my own language. In fact, I am not even sure which one is my own ;-). Anyway I am paying as less as $1 per 100 words. My writers are from UK – it’s incredibly easy to work with them. They are obviously educated people with a lot of experience in writing. They write high quality original content that is really useful. They are also reliable and seem to be grateful to have me as a client.  This is absolutely possible and to be honest I don’t think it’s hard. You just need to develop a new skill – the skill of hiring people!

The Art of Hiring

It takes a little skill to hire right people to do the work. I myself figured this out with some trial and error and I am going to share what I learned here. And you don’t have to be someone who uses English as a second language. English might be your native language but you are not a great writer, or you don’t have time, or you are trying to build something huge – chances are you need help too.

There are many outsourcing sites, but I like to speak from my own experience and I only worked with Freelancer.com. There isn’t any particular reason to believe that Freelancer.com is better than eLance.com or oDesk.com. I really have no idea, but that’s where I do my stuff. The reason for that is that I live in a country not approved by PayPal and there are many sites I can’t use because of this problem. Freelancer.com however offers an option of Moneybookers (lately renamed to Skrill) and this is the reason why I chose them in the first place. So if you are having issues with your credit card not being accepted by some systems or not being able to use PayPal, Moneybookers is likely to be a solution. I didn’t compare rates but I have heard that Moneybookers charges are less than PayPal so even if you have no issues with payments Moneybookers could be still a good idea.

The minimum cost of a project at Freelancer is $30. I think anyone who works online can easily afford that. If you are doing this for the first time the system might be a little confusing – you are presented with too many options and too many people will be reassuring you they are the best catch… Hopefully I can save you some time and frustration with my simple steps to opening a project. This is not the only way to do it, but this is how I do it and it works for me.

  • Open an account at Freelancer.com – it’s free.
  • Ignore everything, search for nothing and noone. Hit big orange button which says “Post a Project”
  • Don’t go into details (most freelancers don’t even bother to read what you are saying  there) but make a descriptive title, something like: “Native English Speaking Writers Needed $1 per 100 words Fitness Niche”
  • The first thing in the project should say something like !!! DO NOT BID IF YOU ARE NOT A NATIVE ENGLISH SPEAKER!!! (they will bid anyway, but this will still stop some)
  •  Again don’t go into details, you will tell them everything they need to know privately. Say something like: We need a native English speaker to write for our online fitness magazine. We offer $1 per 100 words, if you are really good long term work is possible. You have to be ready to write a few paragraphs on topic of OUR choice in order for us to take decision. Happy bidding!”

The crucial part here is that

  1. you don’t play bid games. You have a budget and you are sticking to it.
  2. they are going to write a few paragraphs or a whole article if you wish for free in order for you to make a decision.

This is very important. Never assume that if the person is coming from US the writing will be good by default. I had a HORRIBLE experience with that. Also if you are not a native English speaker yourself, don’t let smart educated foreigners convince you to accept them. They can be great, but still they are just like you. They might make these little mistakes – we will never be able to eliminate those – and you will never realize. Take only someone from US or UK.

It is critical that you choose the topic for a test article yourself. They shouldn’t be able to prepare for this. They usually try to show their previous work, but asking them to write something especially for you is more effective.

Many freelancers there have their own teams. While it might seem that they are operating alone, they are more like companies. They might have a US flag near their names but they hire cheap work force from other non-English speaking countries to actually do the writing. Pay attention, don’t accept them for your project!

It might be hard to recognize those. Some of them might lie to you if you ask them directly, but anyway take all measures to avoid them. Here is how

  • Ask them. It’s good if they say no, hopefully it’s true, but don’t stop just here.
  • Spy on them. Each freelancer has a profile with his own intro and reviews of other buyers. You usually will find some clues there. If you check more than a dozen of profiles chances are you will spot a complicated web of their relationships with each other.
  • Each member, including you has a profile as an employer and as a freelancer. It is a good sign if your freelancer has only a freelancer’s profile. If he was also an employer, see what kind of projects he ordered. Was it article writing? If yes, forget him!
  • If they are telling you they have no problem with delivering 10 articles a day every day – run in opposite direction.

[box style=”warning”]Take only someone who already has worked before. Don’t take newbies no matter how sorry you are for them. Look for someone who already has plenty of good reviews from previous employers. [/box]

Definitely each of them has started at some point of time when he had no reviews and no stars. But I also know that you have no time for experiments, you will have plenty of other good choices anyway. I personally don’t take someone with less than 5 stars and 50+ reviews. When you finally find someone who passed all the criteria, go ahead and read the reviews. A few bad reviews is not an issue – there are crazy buyers too.

Make your choice, usually only one or two freelancers will fit all the criteria. Ask them to write a few paragraphs for you and take your decision.

Freelancer.com offers an escrow system, which is very convenient for everyone. You basically will upload your funds to Freelancer.com, a full project amount or a part, create milestones and Freelancer.com will hold it for you. This way your writer knows he will get paid because you already paid money. You know your writer will not be able to get this money until you are fully satisfied with his work.

How to make sure the content is unique

There is no problem with passing Copyscape. However if your article passes Copyscape it still doesn’t mean it’s unique. Obviously, for $1 per 100 words your native English speaking writer is not going to go to library and make a special research for you. It is also obvious that he or she has no Ph.D. in whatever area you want them to write about. The only solution is to provide original research materials yourself. If you want unique content provide unique research materials – it is that simple. And this is not a kind of material that is already available online. This doesn’t mean rewriting other people’s articles. This means that you are actively involved in research process. Buy books and magazines in your niche, make notes, build your home library – it will pay off.  Get yourself a scanner. Scan chosen materials and send it to them. This is the only way. 

Finally, don’t be bossy. Be nice. Once you have found a good writer treat him like gold. Let some small imperfections pass as if you didn’t notice. Thank them for work and compliment them always – they will do even better. Usually when you build a relationship with a few writers you don’t have to pass through the process of screening the candidates, you will always have someone ready to write for you.

Hopefully this helps someone. Here is the link once again – Freelancer.com. I fixed the comments on this blog so please let me know what you think. How do YOU hire? What is number one difficulty YOU face when hiring people?

How to Use Filezilla to Upload Files to Your New Host

filezilla logo
UPDATE: June 11, 2015. Latest version of Filezilla available from SourceForge is full of malware. I am leaving the old tutorial below for those who are still using it, but I would suggest to stay away unless you know a way to download it without malware.

For those who want a good alternative, I suggest to use CyberDuck. Many people also like WinSCP, but their download also comes via SourceForge which I don’t trust anymore. I personally tested CyberDuck It’s great, no viruses, has multiple file upload feature just like FileZilla. CoffeeCup’s Free FTP is another alternative, but I prefer CyberDuck.

Filezilla is a great free tool that allows you multiple file upload. Just hit the button, sit back and it will do everything for you.  If you are coming from a restrictive platform such as Site Build It! you will really appreciate this tool! In this post I will show how to connect Filezilla to your server and upload files from your computer. If you are transferring your website from SBI! you will probably need Filezilla or similar tool to upload your entire site to your new host.

First of all download Filezilla  here and install it on your computer. Once you are done with installation, open Filezilla and do the following…

1. Click on File –> Site Manager –> New Site

filezilla configuration
Give your site a name – something like mysite.com. Now you have to fill some fields to enable Filezilla to connect to your server:
 
2. Under General (to the right) you will need to fill some information that will allow Filezilla get access to your server.
 
Here is what you need to enter:

  • near “Host:” enter your IP address (the one that your new host provided like 123.456.578). Some hosts will work with name servers (that’s what I did in video), but IP address works with most. If your website is already actually hosted by this host you can simply enter your website’s address, like mydomain.com. I know that most people reading this are transferring websites and have not switched their name servers yet. For them it should be either IP address (ASO) or name server name (Hostgator).

    Nothing seems to work? Contact your host’s support and ask them what you should enter under host for FTP to connect to your server.

  • Keep Protocol FTP File Transfer Protocol and Encryption – Use Plain FTP.
  • Change Logon Type from Anonymous to Normal.
  • User: your username at your new host (you usually choose it yourself when you signup for an account) and Password: your password at your new host.
  • Click  “Connect”. You will see Directory listing successful in the top window. You will also notice your current files that you have on your server under “REMOTE SITE” (right window). You can navigate these files right from here depending on where you want to put your site’s content.

local and remote site filezilla

What you have to do now is to put your files in root directory. In A Small Orange and in Hostgator (affiliate link) and most other hosts I access root directory through folder called public_html. That’s where I would navigate using Filezilla.
 
Now what you need is to get files you want to upload to appear in the left part of interface where it’s written LOCAL SITE –>FILENAME (from down) and at the same time you need to open a location WHERE you want to upload them to the right part of interface where it’s written REMOTE SITE –> FILENAME (also from down).
uploading files using filezilla

My original image and video say to hit CTRL+A (on Windows) to choose all files and drag them to the right. However I found that people who deal with FileZilla for the first time sometimes mess up with this by dragging files to one of the folders within public_html (like cgi bin folder) then they can’t figure out what went wrong. So it is actually better to do CTRL+A then right clck –> UPLOAD. I am not going to remove old image, but I made a new image to demonstrate Upload button for you:

filezilla upload image

Make sure that what you have in the right window is your root directory (public_html) otherwise you will upload your files to a wrong place.

For HTTrack Users
If you used HTTrack to copy your website, you want to make sure you upload only files you need. HTTrack creates some files you don’t have to upload as explained in my HTTrack video here (at about 1:45). What you’ll do is:

  • Click on folder you created when copying your website with HTTrack
  • Inside that folder you’ll find HTTrack’s Project Name (once again, you created that yourself just before copying)
  • Inside that folder (under the your project name) you will find either www.yourwebsite.com or yourwebsite.com
  • You will click on that and there will be all files and folders you need. Once these files appear in the left part of Filezilla’s interface you can hit CTRL+A (for Windows) to choose all and drag it to public_html (if you are using Hostgator or any other host that provides a cPanel).

Upload only what you find inside yoursite.com (or www.yourwebsite.com). For this you have to navigate to the contents of that folder in the left part of Filezilla’s interface.

Do not simply drag folder that says yourwebsite.com to the right. If you do this you will create a folder within a folder. It’s super-easy to fix, but if you are not a technical person it’s a needless stress for you. Already messed up with this? No problem, here is the fix!

FileZilla will take care of everything. It might take quite some time to do that but it doesn’t even require your presence. When the uploading process will finish you need to make sure that it says once again “Directory Listing Successful” in the window on the top. After a while Filezilla will disconnect from server automatically.

Provided there was no errors Filezilla’s part is over. If you were uploading you entire site because you are moving from one host to another you can go and preview your site using your website’s IP. If everything looks ok you can change your name servers from your old webhost to the new one. If you will need to use Filezilla for this website in the future to add some other files you won’t need to do this setup because Filezilla will remember it and will connect automatically. If you have more than one site and you need to use Filezilla you need to do individual setup for every site.

My Experience with Contextweb

Contextweb

UPDATE: Contextweb is in process of platform upgrades which should resolve slow ad loading issue. 

Some time ago I experimented with Contextweb on my main website. When I was still considering using Contextweb I was looking hard for reviews but couldn’t find many. In addition, some people in forums told me they had a bad reputation, but I still decided to try.

Contextweb is a CPM program, which means you are paid per 1,000 impressions. I absolutely love the concept of CPM, it is especially useful for someone who has a lot of traffic but struggles to monetize it. This usually happens in unprofitable niches with less or no competition that are still popular between the readers.  This wasn’t exactly my case but I figured it could make a nice addition to my income.

There is a lot of great points about Contextweb. First of all it allows you to choose how much you are going to be paid. For example, if you decide that you want to be paid $3 per every 1,000 impressions (clicks or no clicks) you enter that amount in your ad manager and unless there is someone willing to pay you that amount ads will not be served. You have a choice between using a public service ad (doesn’t pay) or your own ad, such as Adsense or Chitika, as a back up. So for example, if I ask for $3 per 1,000 impressions and I am willing to use an Adsense ad as a back up, I enter requested $3 AND check my Adsense RPM for that spot. Let’s say my Adsense ad makes $2.5 per 1,000 impressions in the same spot. I paste my Adsense code into Contextweb interface and they generate a code for me. Once I paste this code into my page the following will happen:

  • People from countries that are not covered by Contextweb will always see Adsense ad
  • In case someone is willing to pay me my $3 per 1,000 impressions that’s what I will be paid
  • In case noone is willing to pay me $3 per 1,000 impressions the advertisers will bid on that spot. The minimum bid is what Adsense pays me, i.e. $2.5 per 1,000 impressions. So I could be paid anywhere betweeb $2.5 and $3 per every 1,000 impressions
  • In case advertisers are not interested in paying even my required minimum of $2.5 Adsense ad will be displayed.

Technically this means I am not losing anything. However… Not that simple. The concept is good, but unfortunately there are some serious obstacles on the way…

First, I never could get more than 15% fill rate even when I removed my own backup ads and lowered the price until $1.5 . This means that even when you have a lot of impressions you will be still paid just a few dollars per day. No matter how large you are, things are relative anyway. So it will feel to you like a few pennies.

Second, during my time with Contextweb there were about 4 days of serious outage when Contextweb ads wouldn’t load making your website extremely slow. This type of thing could negatively affect your rankings in Google and ultimately cost you way more than what you can actually earn with Contextweb. During these 4 days Contextweb’s website wasn’t loading either by the way.  So during these 4 days not only your website was slow and Contexweb own ads were not displaying, backup ads were not displaying too! This means an absolute loss! I have no idea how often this happens to them, but this was a deal breaker for me. I removed their ads, waited till they were  ok again and then just added their ads in sidebar without any backup. However, I found that even when functioning properly Contextweb is a little slow. I didn’t earn all that much with them so I finally removed their ads altogether.

What else can I say about them?

  • They have a great user interface. It is obvious they carefully thought of how you are going to use it and made it a point to give you best tools and accurate reporting.
  • You can block ads and categories which is really nice. I would never sign up with a company that doesn’t offer that anyway.
  • I had to deal with support. It takes them some time to answer but they do get back to you eventually.
  • Contextweb is only for those who have a lot of traffic from US, UK and Canada.
  • They DO pay. Some people were telling me that they don’t but perhaps these rumors were triggered by their rather lengthy payment cycle. It takes two months to receive your first check (they issue the check  45 days after you reach minimum payout + a week or so for mail, depending where you are).
  •  You will see a lot of insurance and pharmacy companies there. Typically these are companies that have a high CPC in Adsense so they take advantage of cheap and convenient Contextweb. Totally makes sense.

I am not using Contextweb anymore and I am not sure that I would recommend anyone to use it as a publisher. However taking in consideration how thoughtful they were when they were developing their whole system and ad managing interface they could become very successful in the future. Right now it doesn’t seem they have enough advertisers. I doubt I will be putting their ads back any time soon but I am considering to use their program as advertiser.

UPDATE: Contextweb is in process of platform upgrades which should resolve slow ad loading issue. 

 

 

How to transfer a website from SBI (Site Build It!) to another host

turtle with briefcase
***IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT***

How to transfer a website from SBI (Site Build It!) to another hostHello and welcome to our “Turtles with Options” club! You now have TWO tutorials to choose from:

  • the tutorial on this page which proved to work hundreds of times. Basically, we are going to easily copy our website and upload it to a new host. The site is transferred in a static form, but if you would like to convert to WordPress, you can easily do that too. This tutorial is particularly good for those who are in rush and need to transfer their SBI! websites quickly before their SBI! subscription expires.
  • Straight from SBI! to WordPress (without using HTTrack and CyberDuck) was written after multiple requests from soon-to-be ex-SBIers, and for most people it’s a better option. Written in the end of 2013, it was successfully used by quite a few SBIers. The tutorial teaches you how to build a WordPress version of your website while your original SBI! website is still hosted by SiteSell and available to your visitors. Once you complete your work and verify that everything looks right you make one switch and your visitors begin to load WordPress version of your website. I used to charge for this tutorial before, but now that SBIers aren’t so many anymore, it’s free. You can find it here.
  • ***NONE OF MY TUTORIALS WILL CAUSE DOWNTIME FOR YOUR SITE***
    ****FOR MOST PEOPLE, WORDPRESS TUTORIAL IS A WISER CHOICE****

Back in summer 2012 I moved my website from SBI (or Site Build It! just for search 😉 ) to another host and during my first week away from SBI! I received many emails from other SBIers asking how I did it. I wrote some very lengthy emails with instructions (which I am happy to do by the way) and since demand seems to be very high and free information is not available I decided to post the instructions here.

For your convenience I split the tutorial in bite-sized chunks. Use the buttons below to navigate to whatever you are working on or read it all at once.

We also have forum where you can ask questions. At the moment this tutorial is 100 percent free.


I am not an affiliate
FORUM
What are you waiting for?
Overview
BlockBuilders can move too
Step 1: Copy your website
Step 2: Open a new account
Step 3: Upload your files
Step 4: Check your work
Step 4.1: Emails and subscribers
Step 5: Contact SBI!
Step 6: Switch name servers
Step 7: Do nothing
Important note
Step 8: Transfer your domain


Although I ended my affiliate contracts with all hosts, this tutorial and some other pages on this site might still contain my old affiliate links. I am not getting anything from you using this tutorial. If you want to know what I use for my own sites — it’s A Small Orange.

*****


RANT: What Are You Waiting For?

In December 2013 SBI! released WordPress plugin that contains Brainstormer, cleaned up version of Action Guide, TNT, monetization articles and access to their forum. It is surprising because, as you probably know, SiteSell spent years bashing WordPress, which was quite ridiculous. The plugin costs $149 per year for multiple sites and has a free trial for 14 days. I will tell you more: the way plugin works right now is “plugin-like” at all and can be used even for non-WordPress site(s). I will not elaborate on what I think about this plugin but seriously what are you waiting for? I can’t come up with one even half-convincing reason to continue paying $300 per year for one site on a clunky proprietary system.

Let’s say you have three SBI sites and are paying 900 per year. How do you justify spending this amount when you can pay $149 for all three sites + any potential sites you want to built using same keyword research tool and a much better site building tool? That is $751 difference.

There is an argument that you still have to pay for web hosting. It is true. But most SBIers don’t need more than shared hosting, which can cost anywhere from 4-9 dollars per month for multiple sites. I have seen a post in SBI forums saying that shared hosting is painful and slow. IT IS NOT TRUE. I don’t have space to debunk these myths here but, trust me, it’s not true. This site runs on shared hosting. Was it too slow for you? I got so annoyed by this blatant misinformation that I took a speed test for this particular page. Despite being a WordPress site, it is faster than 86 percent of all tested websites and loads in 1.18 seconds from New York:

speed test

It’s even faster than the static site of poster who made that claim.

If you have a huge number of visitors, like consistent 5,000 unique visitors per DAY or more + you want to use WordPress then yes, it won’t be cheaper than SBI. You will probably need a VPS which can cost anywhere from $30 to $80 per month and requires some learning (although there are always managing solutions for extra price).

SBI hosting is not faster than any other shared hosting. Static websites, like SBI provides, are fast everywhere. And if you want to use WordPress, there is a simple trick to optimize it so it will run as fast as this website.

If you are attached to SBI! tools or forums, you can open a bizXpress account. While I it’s not something I would personally do, I realize that some people may want this. After all, I’ve seen some of the most loyal SBI! fans come here and, unable to deny obvious benefits, transfer their sites using the tutorials on this site. Even if you do choose to pay for bizXPress, it’s still only half the price and it doesn’t increase if you add more websites.

Having said that, if forums and community is the only reason why you miss SBI!, I am sure you could do much better. Let’s face it: SBI! forums aren’t that good in helping you build a business. Many successful online entrepreneurs run their own communities (usually paid). I am not a member of any of these communities and can’t give any recommendations but you can do your own research and, hopefully, find a community that is more business-oriented than keyword-oriented.

Finally, stop thinking of WordPress as something that can’t be good because it’s free. WordPress is not just free. It is open source. That is a huge difference. People use open source because they want freedom and flexibility, not because they want to save money. This is the reason why many geeks use Ubuntu instead of Windows or Mac OS — they want to be free.

It’s not about not making money and not “being able to pay $300 per year”; it’s about freedom, comfort, flexibility and not being wasteful. If you had a billion dollars, would you set a one dollar bill on fire just for the heck of it? I wouldn’t either. It’s not about money.

Let’s get back to the tutorial!

*****

Overview
It is not difficult to move your website from SBI. It’s a straightforward process, but you have to be very attentive to many little details. Please follow the instructions carefully. These instructions are accurate, proven to work literally hundreds of times over the past three years (no exaggeration).

The process boils down to:

  • copying your entire website using a free tool like Httrack;
  • uploading your entire website with all its folders with another free tool (Filezilla CyberDuck) to your new webhost – a matter of pushing one button really;
  • switching your nameservers from SBI! to your new webhost (not more than 10 seconds);
  • when everything is done and settled, you’ll have to register your domain with another registrar (tutorial on domain transfer is available here)
  • you might also want to convert your website to WordPress (optional, 3-part text and video tutorial here »)

All details are below + some useful links. If you do it exactly the way I described, there will be no downtime whatsoever.

It works, it’s safe, you won’t lose your traffic. THERE IS NOTHING TO WORRY OR STRESS ABOUT. Trust me.

People who know tools or went through this process at least once before can get their sites transferred in under 30 minutes. Most of you reading this don’t know the tools we are going to use so it might take a couple of hours for you. It’s okay to split the work over a few days to a week if necessary.

My tutorial may seem overwhelming but it is actually easy. Just trust the process, hundreds of SBIers (some of them admitted to be technically challenged) went through this process before you and were successful. There is no reason why you can’t do it.


BlockBuilders can move too

Some people think they can’t move because they are using SBI’s BlockBuilder. They assume they either have to copy-paste their entire sites to WordPress (although this can be a good idea for many) or transfer their sites to their own HTML first and only then move to another host. I thought so too, but recently Ken Evoy said you actually can take SBI’s template with you. His post is available in SBI forums here. So apparently there is no problem in taking your SBI template with you, and the process of transfer will be exactly same like with your own HTML. Once you move, your block-built website will look just like it did with SBI! but, of course, there will be no SiteCentral and building blocks backend (or whatever they have now in BB2). Your site will be in plain HTML now and you will need a basic knowledge of HTML to edit your old pages. You will have two choices now –

  • learn some HTML to be able to add new pages or
  • convert your entire website contents to WordPress which needs some work but is worth it. Again, you don’t have to do it all at the same time. You can take a break after the initial transfer and take as much time as you need to convert to WordPress one page at a time. You will find a link to instructions on how to do this at the end of this tutorial.

I would recommend the last.

The Process

Hold my hand if you’re feeling scared; we’re flying up, up, outta here…
– Far East Movement – Rocketeer

STEP 1. Copying website.
Time: 5 to 20 minutes (depends on size)

A little tip before you run Httrack:
Some things like SBI’s FaceIt!, ezine subscription form, C2 forms and RSS buttons work only in SBI. Of course you can have it all (and much better) when you’ll move but you will need to use other tools. The tools SBI gives you work only in SBI. So it’s a good idea to remove RSS, ezine forms and Powered by Site Build It! in the footer before you run Httrack. These things will not work on your new host and it will be time consuming to go through your entire site to remove them. My suggestion is to remove them before you copy your site with Httrack.

Download Httrack software from here http://www.httrack.com/page/2/ When ready, start HTTrack and copy your website following these instructions (pay attention to settings).

1-httrack

Please pay attention: Absolute URL / Absolute URL setting is very important.

3-httrack

4-httrack

5-httrack

6-httrack

If you got too many errors, it is likely because of connectivity problems at SBI! or your Internet connection. In this case it’s easier to run HTTrack another time (with another project name) than fix anything manually.

HTTrack downloads so many files you don’t need. This happens because it follows all your links, including social media and ads. The screenshots below will show you how to find files that you need to upload (folder “MyTransferProject” sits on my Desktop because that’s how I set up Httrack settings in the beginning of our project. Similarly, “MyTransfer” in my example below is the project name I chose. You should see folders with names YOU chose when setting up Httrack project, and they should be in location you picked for them):

7-httrack

The only folder you need is buried deep inside and has your site’s name on it. You should upload only contents of this folder and not the folder itself. You know you found the right folder when you open it and see something like this:

There is a few files you might want to pull manually. Here they are:

  • robots.txt
  • RSS feed xml file
  • sitemap’s xml file

Can you skip this this manual file pulling part? In my opinion, if you don’t have thousands of RSS subscribers (you don’t because you are not a blogger), you totally can skip this; especially if you are planning to convert to WordPress soon anyway. WordPress will add its own robots.txt and RSS feed. I would still take my sitemap; although even this is not critical.

In case you want to get these files, here is how it’s done:

  • your robots.txt file is found at yoursite.com/robots.txt. Just open it, copy everything and save on your computer as robots.txt
  • for your RSS .xml file: you have it only if you had SBI!’s blog function activated. Go to your “Blog” page, right click and view page source. In the first few lines of code you will see something like this:
    link rel="alternate" type="application/rss+xml" title="RSS" href="http://www.knitting-hats-for-cats.com/knitting-hats.xml

    Copy the URL part. In our example you would copy:

    href="http://www.knitting-hats-for-cats.com/knitting-hats.xml

    Paste it in your browser and hit enter. You will see “something” but don’t worry about it. ONCE AGAIN, do right click and view page source. You should see a page full of code. It starts like this:

    ?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?
    rss version="2.0" xmlns:atom="http://www.w3.org/2005/Atom"
     channel
    atom:link href="http://www.knitting-hats-for-cats.com/knitting-hats.com" rel="self" type="application/rss+xml" /
    
    .... the code continues
       

    COPY THAT AND SAVE IT UNDER EXACTLY SAME FILE NAME. In our example it is knitting-hats.xml

    Set aside.

  • your sitemap’s .xml file: in old SBI! it was individual for every site and you can find its location in the first line of your robots.txt file. Typically it was something like
    http://www.knitting-hats-for-cats.com/ABCdefgRRT234.xml 

    Open your robots.txt and find your sitemap’s address. Once again, make right click, view page source and copy that and save under exactly same name which in our example is “ABCdefgRRT234.xml”

So you basically should have three files: robots.txt, ABCdefgRRT234.xml (example) and knitting-hats.xml saved on your computer. You will have to upload these files with all your files to the main directory of your website. The easiest way to do that is to add them to HTTrack copy of your website which should be already saved on your computer. Open folders created by HTTrack, navigate to where you see ALL your pages and drop these three files there.


STEP 2. Opening a new account.
Time: 10 minutes

When I moved my SBI! site, I chose Hostgator as my host of choice. I’ve been already using them for a couple of years before that and was more than happy. In 2015 Hostgator still goes strong and I noticed that many soon-to-be SBIers prefer Hostgator over many other hosts.

One of the biggest advantages of Hostgator is its flexible billing structure where you can pay monthly, yearly or even once per three years. Paying for a long period in advance allows for good savings while choosing a monthly plan combined with my 1 cent promo code (described below) allows you to host your site for only 1 cent for the first month.

Many SBIers find it easy to sign up for just one month with this promo code, do the transfer and see how things go. If they feel good about everything, they proceed by cancelling their SBI! account and continue Hostgator’s payments. This basically makes it risk-free; besides 1 cent of course 🙂

If this isn’t enough to convince you to give it a go, Hostgator also gives 45-day money back guarantee. I don’t know if someone ever tried to get a refund for 1 cent but if you pay more than that, you definitely will be able to get a full refund within 45 days.

So coupon or no coupon, the deal is risk-free. If you don’t like it or if you find the tutorial too complicated, just cancel your Hostgator account and get your money back.

Buying web hosting and setting up your account for the first time may be a little confusing so I will walk you through the process very quickly.

Go to their homepage; you will see something like this:

Click on “Get Started Now” and you will end up here:

hg2

If you only have only one site, go with Hatchling plan.

If you have two or more websites to transfer, go with Baby plan. Once you are paying for Baby plan, you can add as many domains as you want for existing or new sites, and your hosting fees will not increase.

If you have only one website and you are not sure whether or not you will one day want to add another website, go with Hatchling — you will be always able to upgrade later.

For the sake of example, I am going to go with Hatchling account. On the next page we will set up your account and enter your billing information.

Make absolutely sure that you choose “I already own this domain” and then enter your SBI! domain WITHOUT WWW.

hg4

Hostgator will try to sell you other extensions of same domain name — you don’t have to buy these domains unless you want to.

Now choose your billing plan. For the sake of example and also to demonstrate one of the most popular choice between SBIers I am choosing monthly payments and I will use a coupon later. You may want to consider other billing options if you like.

As you see, this plan when paid monthly costs $8.95 per month but we are going to make it drop to 1 cent for the first month. (Any coupons they give you are valid only for first payment.)

In step 4 (“Add Additional Services”) some services are checked by default. If you don’t want these services, you can uncheck them.

Finally, in Step 5 I replace the default promo code with webmasterdiary promo code and validate it. The price drops to $0.01 for the first month.

If you chose to pay for a longer period of time, you can use my 25% percent off promo code which is also better than their default 20% for Hatchling. To get 25% off enter webmasterdiary25off.

Once again, any coupons — their default coupons or my coupons — are only valid for the first payment. So if you got 20% or 25% on your first payment, your second payment will not have this discount. They do this to offer you something nice but also encourage you to sign up for longer billing cycles so you will be “committing” to Hostgator. The decision is up to you.

Check out and we will continue in a moment!

As soon as you complete the payment, you must receive an email from Hostgator with title “New Account Info”. Sometimes they take a little time to verify your payment but usually it doesn’t take too long.

Once you receive this email, open it, and you will see something like this:

hg6

Keep this information handy as we will use it to log in and upload and preview our website.


Step 3: Uploading your site to new webhost.
Time: 5-20 minutes

DO NOT download Filezilla. It was a great tool for many years, but it seems its developer has a major personality change, and now Filezilla download comes with malware!!! Please use CyberDuck instead — it’s almost as good, is free and has no malware. I don’t have screenshots for CyberDuck yet, but I posted quick instructions in comments here. The idea is same; you will need the same information to connect with CyberDuck — it only looks a little different. I will leave the tutorial as is for now, but I strongly suggest that you chose CyberDuck over FileZilla unless you know how to deal with malware (I had to use three different anti-virus and malware programs to clean up my computer after my last FileZilla install).
Download CyberDuck

Download Filezilla (free). You can do that here.

We are going to connect to our cPanel using this amazing tool and upload our entire site with just one click. The only thing you need to be careful about is to upload the right files to the right place. Let’s connect first. Start Filezilla and find File –> Site Manager like this:

filezilla1

Now let’s set up a new project. For the sake of example I called my project “AAA TEST” and filled the settings in the empty fields.

filezilla-hg

In host field you can just enter your first name server name. In my case it was ns1281.websitewelcome.com; in your case this might slightly differ so please consult your “New Account Info” email for name servers.

Logon type: switch to NORMAL
Username: your username at Hostgator
Password: your password at Hostgator

(if you don’t like your password at Hostgator, there is an option to change it but I am not going to discuss it now so that my tutorial doesn’t become overly bloated).

Click “Connect”. Sometimes Filezilla may flash a warning message that says “The server’s certificate is unknown… Blah blah blah…” Don’t worry about it; just click OK in the warning window to ignore the message and Filezilla will proceed to connect. If things go well, you should see this:

Using links in the left side of your screen navigate to the folder that contains your site’s files. Your files should look approximately like this:

You should be seeing things like “image-files”, “support-files”, “images”, and all your pages’ file names. If you don’t see that, you are in a wrong folder. If you see that, good! Now that we got the right files, let’s navigate to the right place where we are going to upload all this.

In the right side of the interface scroll down till you see pubic_html folder and click to enter. Once you make sure you are inside your public_html directory, go back to the left side of the screen that has your site files in it and hit CTRL+A to choose them all. Now right click and choose “UPLOAD” like this:

Filezilla will take care of itself and you can just relax because it can take a while. Wait until the process is over. Make sure Filezilla doesn’t show any errors and, if everything is OK, you can proceed to Step 4.


Step 4. Check your work.
Time: up to you, but not much.

Once Filezilla is done, you can add your username to your preview URL and see your site! Your preview URL consists of IP address (found in your “New Account Info” email), ~ sign and your username at Hostgator like so:

http://123.45.67/~username

for example

http://123.45.67/~ilovecats

Of course, you should modify this according to your technical data. Modify it and enter that in your browser. Can you see your website yet? It should look exactly like your SBI! website at this point. You can check other pages by adding their file name to the end of this URL, like this

http://123.45.67/~username/my-page.html

This is the only way to see other pages right now because if you actually click through the links, you will end up on your live SBI! website. Now… you don’t really have to check EVERY page, in my opinion anyway 😉 If you were careful when checking HTTrack errors and if Filezilla didn’t give you any errors, all your pages should be there. If the site looks fine and a few random pages you choose to check look good as well, it’s safe to assume everything else is fine too.

Believe it or not, we are about to finish!

It’s a good idea to set up your email address at this point to minimize the risk of lost emails. Let’s move on to the next step 🙂


Step 4.1: What to do with emails and subscribers.
SBIers aren’t typically using emails at their domain.com because it’s very unreliable in SBI! Guess what? You can have that now and it really works! And if you actually used your webmail in SBI and are receiving emails there then it’s important to create that here too. It is very simple. Go your cPanel (see the control panel URL in your “New Hosting Account Info” email), login with your name and password and find Email Accounts:

Click on that and fill the form you will see to create email address at your domain.com

When your site will be fully transferred, you will be able to find your emails at

yourdomain.com/webmail

where you will have to sign in with your email address and password you specifically created for email. There are other great options like redirecting all incoming emails to your Gmail, Yahoo or whatever you are using the most (very handy if you have many sites, so you don’t have to check 10 emails every day), but that is beyond the scope of this tutorial.

Also if you had eZine subscribers in SBI! you should download them from SiteCentral. For email newsletters, however, you will need to use either MailChimp (free under 2000 subscribers) or other paid services. WordPress has some free solutions which I never explored. I heard most of it will end up in Spam folder, just like it was the case with SBI anyway. MailChimp or something paid is the way to go.

For Contact Us forms:

  • WordPress users will be guided in my free static to WordPress tutorial;
  • static people can set their forms as described here.

Having a blank Contact Us page with “Contact me at me (at) gmail.com” is always a good idea until you have time and energy to build a proper form.

Please note that this will transfer email address but NOT your old email messages, drafts, replies or contacts. There is no way to transfer that and if you have something critical there, you should print that or back it up in some other way. If your old contacts will be sending you emails on very same address, you will receive that. You don’t need to notify them about anything unless you decided to change your address.


Step 5: Contact SBI to unlock domain.
Time: depends on SBI!

Time to contact SBI! Before we do that, make sure that your domain privacy settings are set to public. If your WhoIs information is currently private, you need to make it public before you contact SBI! Here is how to do that.

I wrote this email sample so that you don’t need to spend much time thinking what to say. Feel free to use it; just make sure to include all required information.

Hello,

I am the owner of best-hats-for-cats.com and would like to switch my name servers to another host. Kindly unlock my domain.

My SBI! order number is …………
Last 4 digits of my credit card are ……….
My IP address is ……….

Please do not cancel my account until I tell you. I only want to switch name servers for now.

Kind regards,

YOU

* Your IP address as it appears here.
** Use email address that appears in WhoIs record to send this email otherwise they will not unlock it.


Step 6. Switch name servers.
Time: 20 seconds

SBI will verify you are the real owner of the site and unlock your domain. You will then have to go to a special page in your SBI account manager where you can change your SBI name servers to your new host’s name servers (it’s located here

http://build.sitesell.com/manage.html

You should sign in with username and password SBI! sent you when you first opened an account with them. It’s different from your regular password you use to sign in to SBI! To find it, search your emails for an email with title “SITE BUILD IT! MAIL”).

Now all you have to do is to change ns1.sitesell.com and ns2.sitesell.com to your new host’s name servers which you found in “New Account Info” email, for example:

ns1281.websitewelcome.com
ns1282.websitewelcome.com

Please make sure to use YOUR name servers found in Hostgator’s email and not my example. Also make sure not to make a typo here.


Step 7. Do NOTHING
Time 24-72 hours

It might take you as little as 30 minutes to begin loading from your new host. However it will be different for different places around the world so just keep it that way 48 hours to make sure the transition is complete. You don’t have to do anything special during this period. Of course, if you want to add new pages or edit your old pages, you should do that from your new host’s backend.

When I was transferring my site, my SBI’s homepage was absolutely identical to my homepage on my new host, except that my homepage hosted by SBI was saying “Recent Articles” and my homepage uploaded to the new host was edited to “Latest Articles”. This way I knew that if I refresh my homepage and see “Latest Articles”, everything is working correctly. This of course doesn’t mean everyone is seeing the same thing, but you can do this little trick just to reassure yourself that everything works. It might even switch back to old host’s version and then back to new host’s version several times. In all cases wait for up to 48 hours to be safe.


Step 8. Transfer your domain.
Time: a few minutes (excluding waiting period)

After about 48 hours the transition will be complete. This means your site is fully hosted by your new host and you can move the domain name itself. Here is a detailed tutorial on how to transfer your domain management to another registrar ». DON’T FORGET TO DO THIS. IT’S NOT OPTIONAL!!!

After you moved both – your website and your domain — you can safely cancel your SBI! account. In fact, you should make sure you canceled it  because SBI will charge you automatically for another year if you don’t do this on time. You will have access to all SBI tools and forum as long as your account isn’t expired or canceled. SBI email makes you think that once you change name servers you will lose access to Site Central, but that’s not what happens in my experience. They might fix it later, so no guarantees.

As you see it is totally doable. There is no reason to be

frightened turtle inside the shell cartoon

Sorry couldn’t resist! After all you are a strong self-reliant turtle in this big amazing world wide web, a turtle with options, I would say 😉

This is more than enough for successful transfer but I still have two tutorials you might want to check out:


IMPORTANT:
1- One huge  problem is that SBI adds tracking code to all your outgoing links so all your affiliate links or links to other websites will be broken and you will have to fix them manually. You will have  to go through your entire website and remove this piece of code

onClick="window.location.href='http://www.yoursite.com/cgi-bin/counter.pl?url=http%3A%2F%2Fyourlinl%2Ecom%2FLink-LinkU&referrer=http%3A%2F%2Fwww%2Eyoursite%2Ecom%2Findex%2Ehtml'; return false;"

This was a good idea while you were with SBI but once you leave you won’t be very thankful for this 😉

2 – It is very important to preserve your URL structure. In SBI your website had www. prefix before it and you should make sure you keep it after you transfer your website from SBI to another host. It is simple to do, but for some reason I saw many people neglect this as if it were a minor detail. In fact, it is an important detail. Technically your URL with www. and without www. are different URLs!  Once you transfer you files to another host, find your .htaccess file (usually it is in hidden files) If you can’t find it ask support to point it for you. Open your .htaccess file and paste this there (if you are doing WordPress, you don’t have to do this. You will set this from your WordPress dashboard instead):

RewriteEngine On
RewriteBase /
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^yoursite.com [NC]
RewriteRule ^(.*)$ http://www.yoursite.com/$1 [L,R=301]

Obviously replace yoursite.com with your website’s address.

That’s all. Hope this helps someone. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask in my help forum.

Last updated: May 1, 2015

How to Find Affiliate Programs (or Products) that Will Work for Your Website

pot of gold drawing

It is really frustrating to spend hours or even days looking for what it seems good affiliate programs (or products), submit forms, wait to get approved only to find that they just don’t work on your website. Here is how to make this process easier, quicker and hopefully more effective:
pot of gold drawing

If you’ve been using Adsense on your site for any substantial period of time you probably noticed that some advertisers seem to just love your website. There should be a reason for that. If they keep advertising on your site, means it’s working for them. Find out their landing pages URLs (without clicking on ads of course) and see what they are doing. If they are selling a particular product, note what kind of product is that. Do they own this product or they are affiliates themselves? Whatever it is, get inspired by their ideas and subscribe to same affiliate program or promote a similar product yourself. If it works for you, you may consider to block them as they are your competitors now.

To analyze your advertisers you can go to your Adsense dashboard, then Allow and Block Ads, then choose Shown Ads. In addition you can use ad preview tool or check the actual pages of your site, however using Shown Ads tool is the easiest way to do it.

You have to keep in mind that not all advertisers really know what they are doing. Some may be losing money on your site, look only at those who have been around for some time.